When your B team is A for amazing
In the author world, we have a range of people that help us to make it through the whole process of writing a book. From having friends and authors to bounce ideas around with, to family who allow us time to escape and write. We need all these people to allow us to make our art. But equally important is the reading teams and editors. They read the book before the readers can, and make sure that the storylines work and fix all our small mistakes. Sometimes they point out the obvious, and sometimes its the subtle, but their combined forces make for a better story. They are the quality controllers. And this month I had them back at work, and they were so helpful, yet again. Amazing even. So this month I am giving a shout out to my B team who are simply A for amazing. Thank you for all your help in making my work shine!
This month I got to speak with another two amazing authors to find out who supports their art.
This month's authors: JP Mclean
JP writes contemporary fantasy thrillers with a provocative edge. She is best known for The Gift Legacy series. The first book of the series received Honourable Mention at the Whistler Independent Book Awards.
What drew you to supernatural thriller writing?
Growing up, I was always a string bean, the skinny kid, so people assumed I was also physically weak, which really irked me. I think that’s why I’ve always been fascinated by the supernatural; It levels the field. But I also like the possibility that phenomena we can’t explain may exist in the world, like telekinesis and mind-reading. And when you combine supernatural possibilities with a thriller plot, you have endless opportunities for entertaining stories. At least that’s how my writer’s imagination sees it.
You have written a number of books now, are there any standout characters or plots from your collection that are favourites for you?
My favourite character is the protagonist in the series, Emelynn Taylor. She shares a mentor/student sub-plot with another major character, Sebastian Kirk. I had a lot of fun writing their scenes and their dialogue. They are opposites in many ways: she’s down to earth, he’s a snob; she’s new to their secret society, he’s from one of the society’s founding families; she earns her respect, he demands it. Those opposing values provided ample opportunity for sparks in the form of conflict or misunderstanding, and whenever possible, I threw in some humour and sarcasm. In real life, the perfect retort comes a day late, so it’s very gratifying to have the time to write dialogue that delivers the perfect retort right on time.
What’s the most interesting thing that has happened while you writing?
When I began writing fiction, I kept a running list of story ideas in a document on my computer. Some were major items, like plot twists or conflicts, and others were minor items, like a character description, a turn of phrase, or an interesting setting. Back then, I was afraid I’d run out of story ideas, so I hoarded them. One of the most interesting things that happened was discovering that my list of ideas kept growing. With each book, more and more ideas piled up. I’ve since come to realize that my writer’s imagination is a muscle, and the more I use it, the stronger it becomes. I still have that document on my computer, but I no longer hoard the ideas.
If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be and why?
I’d visit my family in Ontario’s cottage country. I wasn’t able to make my usual summer visit last year due to Covid, and this year, family health issues are keeping me away. Hopefully, by Christmas I’ll be able to make the trip out and catch up.
JP loves to hear from her readers. They can reach her through her website at https://jpmcleanauthor.com.
I hope you can take a moment to offer support by checking out a book or two, and I extend my thanks for being interviewed! Check out her latest book coming out in October 2021 - Blood Mark!
MJ Preston MJ Preston is a horror author who lives in Canada. His debut novel: THE EQUINOX was a semi final contender in the Amazon Breakthrough Awards and was called: A solid Horror Novel, by a reviewer from Publishers Weekly. It also captured the attention of horror enthusiasts in the Podcast world where it was met with high praise.
What is the appeal of horror writing for you?
I suppose it's because horror offers much more in a way of versatility to both the storyteller and the reader. I mean horror distorts our reality and core beliefs? For a writer, that's highly exploitable. You get to do stuff to people in horror that would get you arrested in real life. You can put a character into varying degrees of circumstances. From moderate to off the charts. Maybe the protagonist's love interest has a murderous doppelganger? Maybe the protagonist is mildly conflicted. I mean he really digs the Girl with the Doppelganger. So, what's a few dead people in pursuit of true love and long-term relationships? Well, maybe not as conflicted as we thought. In horror you decide how far down that funhouse corridor you are willing to go. The joy of writing horror is that almost anything goes. The only challenge for me is knowing where the line past almost anything is.
Do you prefer short story writing or novel writing, and why?
I don't have a straight answer on this. In the last decade, most of my projects have been novels or a series of novels. I'm comfortable writing larger tales, and most of my novels come in around 400 plus pages. My second novel, ACADIA EVENT is almost 600 pages. But there is a bit of gray in that statement. For me, telling a story comes a chapter at a time with an overall outline in my head. Each chapter is in itself a story, that's why all chapters in my books are named. As an example, going back to ACADIA EVENT, Chapter 18 - The Kitchen Nazi. In this chapter I weave a tale of a female cook in a bunkhouse north of the 60th parallel who is both loathed and feared by the drivers. She is the kitchen nazi, a woman who is reported to touched the eggs she cooks with a bare hand after scratching a personal area. She will also chase down anyone taking extra apple or cookie from the kitchen.
With your multiple artistic endeavours, do you find they assist each other and how?
Generally, I am all in on a writing project and try not to do anything that will impede getting that book to the finish line. But I do have selfish pleasures in photography and art which help to distract from the bumps in the road. If I have a particularly piece or chapter, I'm struggling with, sometimes a little music on the earbuds and breaking out the paint program is just the remedy. Much of my art has been used in the covers of my books and stories. Not all of it, but much of it and that's all a part of the creative process for me. If I could play a guitar, I'd probably compose a soundtrack for my books, but I leave that to the pros.
I am working on a new novel, and its funny you should ask this because, I also have a mistress story that I run too. I'm not ready to talk about that project other than to say, I have no idea where it's going and only that it is funny and sure to offend. But it is a good place to go if I need to step out of one world and into another as a virtual long weekend.
Who is one author you have never met but would love to, and why?
30 years ago: Hands down! It would have been Stephen King. Twenty years: Robert R. McCammon. Ten: Tom Clancy. Present day: John Sanford. But behind Sanford, there are plenty of close bets. I've been lucky enough to meet some of the folks I've read, I won't drop names, but none of the above.
Now, about John Sanford, I think I'd love to meet him, because his writing has entertained me so much over the years and I'll get fawn all over him like Annie Wilkes from Misery. Seriously though, I'm just a fan of his work, I look forward to more. Who wouldn't want to have a beer with the guy who gave us Virgil Flowers?
MJ loves interacting with readers and talking about writing.
Come and find him at the following links.
I hope you can take a moment to offer support for them by checking out his books, and I extend my thanks for being interviewed!
I wish to thank you for taking the time to read and engage with me! Happy reading everyone!
Coming out in October 2021!
He’s back, and he’s protective.
Nicci, an abandoned were-panther only just reunited with her family, has now not only formed her own pack and become the Alpha, but has become a target for others who want her bloodline.
Dru, a famous race car driver and inheritor of one of the most influential packs in Australia, was trying to escape notoriety and his fate but instead found Nicci and fell in love. Now he must prove himself worthy of being pack Alpha by being a better leader than his father ever was.
Together they formed a new pack in a deserted town called Nowhere in the wilderness of rural Australia.
When Sebastian, a were-bear from Nicci’s past comes to town to warn them that she is in danger, Dru can’t handle his emotions. Mad with jealousy, he soon finds himself unintentionally back in the clutches of his father’s plans. Nicci’s family come to help defend the folk of Nowhere, but are their efforts genuine or do they have plans of their own?
Who will save Nowhere, or will both their worlds collide?
Coming soon! Stay tuned for more or subscribe to my website for the latest information!